Monday, November 12, 2012

Yearning for the simpler days ~ My Column from Sunday's Paper

A front moved through last night, and I fell asleep listening to the rattle of rain on my metal roof. It’s a soothing sound. The roof wasn’t cheap to install, but on nights like last night, I am thankful they didn’t charge what it’s worth.

The rain brought cooler temperatures, which made it a perfect afternoon to build a fire in our fire pit in the back yard. I recently stopped by the store and stocked up on Hershey Bars, graham crackers and marshmallows. If there’s a better autumn treat than s’mores, I need for someone to share it with me because I can eat s’mores until the cows play backgammon.

The fire pit is perfect for contemplation. The gentle flames dancing on hickory, oak and apple wood are hypnotic. We built the pit the first Saturday in September, and that evening we built our first fire. 

The aroma of woodsmoke permeated my clothes, and the morning after when I tossed my shirt into the laundry hamper, I got a whiff of woodsmoke mixed with cotton and it sent my mind on a detour down memory lane.

I remembered a camping trip with my dad when I was 15 years old.

We spent the night on the banks of the Black Warrior River below Dora. Most of the time my dad didn’t talk a lot, but the campfire (and probably a few swigs of moonshine) loosened his tongue, and he talked into the night about his childhood, his successes, failures and lost dreams.

I was mesmerized by his words and the crackling sound of dying embers. As I drifted off to sleep, I could hear the slapping sound of a beaver’s tail on the water as he swam downstream, kerplunk, kerplunk.

It’s interesting to me that the simple smell of woodsmoke could serve as a time machine and send me back over 40 years. The fire pit wasn’t cheap, but it was well worth the money.

Maybe the reason I love my metal roof and fire pit so much is because they remind me of my youth. Most of the houses we lived in when I was a child had roofs that sounded like kettle drums when it rained.

There is a reason that “The Beverly Hillbillies,” “Andy Griffith” and “Green Acres” are still popular today 50 years since they first appeared on our black and white televisions. 

People long for simpler times, before 9/11, Iraq and Afghanistan, when the choices were simpler and the world wasn’t driven by fear.

Those days weren’t Nirvana because every generation has their problems, but it seems the speed of communications these days has brought the problems into sharper focus.

Nowhere is this more apparent than on Facebook, the online community that has somehow become woven into the fabric of our lives.

Leading up to the presidential election this year, the fear was palatable. The voice of reason, for the most part, did not play to the masses. I’m glad the election is over, but the respite won’t last because soon everyone will be cranking up for the 2016 elections.

I don’t want to think about that now, because I’m building a hickory fire in the pit and I’m going to roast some s’mores.

1 comment:

  1. Ahhhh... sitting around a crackling fire, talking through the smoke, and eating s'mores. Save me a place, won't you?


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